May 30th.–Instruction XXX. Mary the Refugee of Sinners.

May 30th.–Instruction 30. Mary the Refugee of Sinners.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

May 30th.–Instruction 30. Mary the Refugee of Sinners.

Now, therefore, pray for us.”–Judith viii. 29.

The inhabitants of Bethulia were on the point of perishing. Holofernes, already master of all the surrounding country, was now prepared to lay siege to the city itself. The priests and the chiefs of the people had despaired of assistance from Heaven. They were at length resolved to submit to the yoke of their enemy and thereby escape entire destruction. A woman, however, is found to raise their fallen courage. Judith exhorts the people to confidence, and promises that God will have pity on them and will never allow them to fall into the hands of cruel Holofernes. Reassured by her words, Ozias and the priests recommend themselves to her prayers. They say: “Pray for us, now, O thou who art agreeable to God!” The Church applies these suppliant words to the Virgin Mother, of whom Judith was only a figure. The especial title which we have to the merciful intervention of Mary is that we are sinners. Pray for us sinners! The subject of our present meditation will be Mary the refuge and advocate of sinners. We will consider how Mary prays for sinners, shields them from divine chastisements, and obtains heavenly favors for them.

1. Mary prays for sinners.–If there be one truth more solidly established than another it is this, that Mary prays for the servants of her divine Son and that she is especially the refuge and advocate of sinners. The apostle St. Paul tells us that Our Lord Jesus Christ is always living in heaven to plead our cause before His Father, and may we not believe that such is also the charitable office of His blessed Mother? St. John tells us that we have in Jesus a powerful advocate before the Heavenly Father; in Mary we have a powerful advocate before the divine Son. When on earth our blessed Saviour said: “I have not come to call the just, but sinners, to penance.” He is pleased to add, “Who are they that have need of a physician?” He Himself answers, “Not they who are well in health, but the sick.” Therefore in heaven and on earth Jesus defends the cause of those who are spiritually sick before His Father, and it is precisely in favor of these unfortunate sinners that Mary employs her omnipotent intercession. Her solicitude is so great that she is interested in all, prays for all, with an affection which is wholly maternal. Mary was pleased to reveal herself to St. Bridget, and said to her: There is no one, however sinful he may be, that will be deprived of my mercy during life. Poor sinners, however great and countless may be your crimes, however low you may have fallen, or however deeply rooted may be your vices, do not despair! Mary is powerful enough to obtain for you the grace of conversion, and has so much love for you that she will extend to you the fulness of her maternal affection on your return to God.

2. She shields sinners from divine chastisements.–Not only does Mary pray for sinners and become their advocate with her divine Son, but she is also their most assured refuge against the rigors of His sovereign justice. When King Assuerus, by the perfidious counsels of the impious Aman, was prepared to exterminate all the people of Israel, the presence of Esther and a word from her lips sufficed to turn the danger aside and save the life of a whole nation. This is at once a striking and faithful image of Mary’s interposition between the justice of the King of kings and the multitude of sinners condemned to eternal punishment. She appears crowned with the diadem of her divine maternity, covered by the royal mantle of her virtues and her merits, and recalls to Jesus the solicitudes, the fears, the agonies, the fatigues, and the sorrows she endured for Him. She shows Him the thorns, the nails, the cross, and the precious blood which He has shed. At the sight of such remembrance how can the tender heart of Jesus fail to be touched by compassion for the guilty ones threatened by His anger? If God does not chastise the world now by scourges as terrible as in the ages which preceded the coming of Christ, in a great measure we owe this exemption to Mary. The holy fathers tell us that Mary interposes between God and us; Mary prays, Mary supplicates. Does she not manifest herself in a special manner the refuge of sinners, by opening so many venerated sanctuaries to which she calls the people from every land by miracles of grace precisely that sinners may do penance and thereby escape divine justice?

3. She obtains heavenly favors for them.–It is not enough for Mary to shield sinners from divine justice; her love prompts her to obtain for them favors of all kinds, for soul and body. Who is there that can say he has never received a blessing from her, spiritual or temporal? Hence St. Bernard says: “Let him who has not experienced the effects of her love after having invoked her cease to praise her. The world is full of proofs of Mary s mercy to sinners.” St. Germain says: “If I could interrogate the saints of paradise, all would answer that they have been saved by the intercession of Mary. The holy innocents would tell me that it was with Mary’s assistance they preserved their robe of innocence stainless and persevered in good. The penitents would say that it was by the intercession of Mary that they obtained the pardon of their sins, through her they have been saved.” And even in the temporal order see the countless ex-voto offerings hanging on the walls of all the sanctuaries consecrated to Mary. Do these not attest the innumerable favors obtained through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin? Do they not tell us of miracles wrought for the soul and the body of those who came to invoke her confidently? Sinners, have recourse to Mary, and do not fail to invoke her by that consoling title, Refuge of sinners, pray for us. Pray for us now and at the hour of our death, that after death we may pass from this vale of tears to the happiness of life eternal.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of the Doctrine of Truth.

There are two doctrines, but there is only one truth. There are two doctrines; one of God, unchangeable as himself; the other of man, variable like him. The uncreated Wisdom, the Divine Word, pours the first into the souls prepared to receive it; and the light communicated to them is a part of Himself–of the substantial and eternal truth. Offered to all, it is bestowed most abundantly on him who is humble of heart; and as it comes not of himself, and can at any moment be taken away from him, and depends in no manner on the intelligence which
it enlightens, he possesses it without being tempted to indulge in vain glory on account of having it. The doctrine of man, on the contrary, flatters his pride, because it is the father of pride. “That idea belongs to me; I was the first to express it; no one knew anything of it before me.” Proud spirit, behold thy language! But soon the powerful reasonIng, which forms his joy, is disputed; the world laughs at the false ideas which he believed true,–at his imaginary discoveries; to-morrow they are thought of no more, and time erases even the name of the madman who lived only for earthly immortality. O Jesus, graciously pour Thy holy truth into me and let it preserve me for ever from the foolish wanderings of my soul!.–Thomas à Kempis–Imitation of Christ Bk I, Ch III resolution.

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May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary

Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty

O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years. A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)

The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.

Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).

Mother Dear, O Pray for Me.

Mother dear, O pray for me!
Whilst far from heav’n and thee
I wander in a fragile bark
O’er life’s tempestuous sea,
O Virgin Mother, from thy throne,
So bright in bliss above,
Protect thy child and cheer my path
With thy sweet smile of love.

Refrain:
Mother dear, remember me,
And never cease thy care,
Till in heaven eternally,
Thy love and bliss I share.

Mother dear, O pray for me!
Should pleasure’s siren lay,
E’er tempt thy child to wander far
From Virtue’s path away.
When thorns beset life’s devious way,
And darkling waters flow,
Then Mary aid thy weeping child,
Thyself a mother show.

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